Mobilizing and Monetizing The Lobby Experience

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | March 11, 2012


That's the exclamation (not to mention double entendre) that's likely doing cartwheels inside the heads of corporate higher ups and casino/hotel bookkeepers that are busy tallying their property's profits. It's a joy especially potent considering that a large portion of the green in their piggy banks stems from those very same gaming additions.

It may seem obvious to any Las Vegas traveler who's ever stepped foot in the MGM Grand, The Bellagio, or Mandalay Bay, but it's important to remember that at sometime, at some point, hotel designers reached this no-brainer conclusion: Instead of building casinos and hotels as separate structures, why not build them as single entities? Better still, why not pair the hotel and casino branding? That way, room rates, the mainstay for a hotel's revenue, can be partnered with an entirely new income stream: gambling money. Everybody knows tourists are coming to cities like Las Vegas to try their hand (and luck) at the one-armed bandit. Why not give hotel guests what they want right in the lobby, and monetize the experience?

A simple idea, for sure, but it's the aesthetic and business success at the root of the world-famous Las Vegas strip. And when it comes to creating revenue opportunities in common spaces, the burgeoning world of mobile, digital signage and location-aware technologies could learn a thing or two. Like the resort-casino model, mobile's next frontier - or certainly a frontier as it relates to hotels, is the lobby. It's a potential revenue, entertainment and loyalty source so significant that hoteliers who choose to mobilize their lobbies should be shouting "jackpot" too.

Mobile's Winning Combination: Engage, Entertain, Enjoy

Of all the places mobile technology has reached, (through smartphones or tablets) it's surprising that the hotel lobby has yet to be tapped – even less so than the hotel room, which is beginning, finally, to find its digital footing.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.